NorthShore Care Supply’s fulfillment throughout the holiday season operated faster than ever before.

That was thanks to a test the adult diapers retailer ran with FedEx that increased the frequency the carrier picked up packages from NorthShore Care Supply’s Illinois warehouse to seven days a week from five, as well as added overnight pickups, says Adam Greenberg, the retailer’s owner.

The changes helped NorthShore Care reduce its in-transit time by a half-day to 2.25 days on average during the holiday season from 2.75 days earlier in 2019. The results were even more pronounced for the retailer’s West Coast customers, whose orders arrived in four days on average, down from four business days or six total days. But despite those gains, the retailer’s on-time delivery rate fell about three percentage points in December to roughly 95% for ground shipments due to typical seasonal challenges, Greenberg says.

NorthShore Care Supply’s fulfillment operations during the holiday season were typical—a number of retailers made improvements to their operations throughout 2019 to meet increased shopper demand for faster delivery during the holidays. But no matter how much merchants prepared or delivered faster than last year, many retailers and shipping carriers struggled to deliver on-time packages during the 2019 holiday season. There were a host of mitigating factors behind those issues, including a shortened season in which the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas was six fewer days in 2019 than in 2018 and ecommerce package volume rose 12.2% between Nov. 15 and Dec. 31, says Rob Taylor, CEO of last-mile technology vendor Convey. The vendor’s data is based on tens of millions of packages shipped from more than 500,000 U.S. locations across the company’s 130 retailer client base and excludes Amazon shipments.

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